Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issued a one-paragraph statement last week directing members, the media and others to use the full, formal name of the Utah-based faith and urging them to do away with the shorter but more widely known terms “Mormon” and “LDS.”
His statement totaled only 71 words, but it prompted tens of thousands more to be published on the topic because the implications could be wide-ranging and long-lasting.
In this week’s podcast, Latter-day Saint scholar Richard Bushman looks back at the historical uses of the term “Mormon” and the evolution of the church’s name along with the opportunity members now have to engage in a deeper conversation about their religion. And Stuart Reid, a former Utah lawmaker who used to work in the church’s public affairs department, discusses the reasons for this and past naming campaigns but with a particular focus on the future. In short, he says, Nelson is preparing the church and its followers for Christ’s eventual return.